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Bria Adams Participates in Live Taping of "Black Women OWN the Conversation"

August 2019

Bria AdamsDuring a live taping of the first episode of “OWN Spotlight: Black Women OWN the Conversation,” psychology major and Bonner Scholar Bria Adams, C’2021, shared her thoughts regarding beauty and colorism.

Presented by OWN and OZY, the four-part series features a panel of celebrity guests discussing a range of topics from relationships to beauty and motherhood. Several Spelman students attended live tapings of the special.

During the interactive, town hall style event that was filmed in Atlanta, audience members were encouraged to have a lively discussion about beauty standards. “The idea that light or white is ‘better’ is prevalent in teachings, media, and societal institutions,” said Adams.

“I shared as part of the discussion that it is important to remember that colorism was intentionally used as a form of oppression against our people, and that we should avoid subjugating ourselves to faulty logic.”  

Stacey Abrams, C’95, will be featured on the first episode, which is scheduled to air Saturday, Aug. 24, on OWN.

In Bria Adams' Own Words

Bria Adams with Carlos WatsonI wanted to attend the OWN show, hosted by Carlos Watson, co-founder and CEO of OZY Media, because I thought it would be an awesome opportunity to participate in healthy conversation on topics that directly impact Black women in today’s society. Also, as someone who’s never been a part of a live taping of a television show, I was intrigued to see the process and learn how it [a live television broadcast] comes together. Of course, being able to see my Spelman sister, Stacey Abrams, was also a plus.

During the town hall, there was a panel of three celebrity Black women: singer and entertainer, Monica; comedian and actress Kim Whitley; and politician and Spelman alumna Stacey Abrams. We covered an array of topics including: body image, hair, and colorism. The event was very interactive, allowing input from not only the panelists, but videos were shown to introduce each topic, and there was commentary from special guests like reigning Miss USA, Cheslie Kryst, and the audience members.

My Thoughts on Colorism

I had the chance to participate by speaking on the issue of colorism which was very exciting. I mentioned how colorism has a deep history that has existed before anyone in the room was even born. I went on to say how it can even be dated back to early religions like Zoroastrianism, a "faith centered in a dualistic cosmology of good and evil,” and with that mindset of everything being binary, we have gone on to associate whiteness with goodness and blackness with evilness. With that in mind, I basically encouraged the room to keep that perspective at their forefront when discussing “light skinned versus dark skinned.”

I also emphasized that the conversation did not just randomly start with Black people. With the idea of light/white as being "better" reflected in teachings, media, and societal institutions, it is important to remember that it was intentionally put it place in an effort to further oppress our people; and we should avoid subjugating ourselves to the faulty logic.

Themes and Takeaways

Bria Adams at OWN ConversationOne of the major takeaways I gathered was that there is a definite gap between how older Black women tend to think about the topics we discussed versus how younger Black women think about them. That's not to say it's a bad thing, but when delving into topics like we did, it is key to actively keep an open mind and heart about  everyone's perspective because although we were all Black and identify as women, all of our stories are innately different.

I was also reminded that no matter the status or appearance someone has, we all struggle with insecurities. The power of voicing one’s vulnerabilities in a safe space and among Black women who can typically likely relate, is beautiful and extremely necessary.

Overall, the experience  was great and I’m thankful to have participated. It definitely motivated me to want to know and understand the topics we discussed on a deeper level. it also challenged me to have similar conversations with my Spelman sisters. I believe it's important and beneficial to have these conversations and not just on a surface level, but on a deeper, more analytical and critical level as far as understanding the history, reading texts, and researching the implications and origins of these issues that impact us as Black women directly.

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